Kate McQuade in conversation with Bennett Fellow Courtney Sender

"These are stories of magical lyricism, contemporary in their exploration of the obsessions of girls and young women, mythic in their scope and mystery. Remarkable." -- Joyce Carol Oates

Lyrical, intimate, and incisive, Tell Me Who We Were explores the inner worlds of girls and women, the relationships we cherish and betray, and the transformations we undergo in the simple act of living.

It begins with a drowning. One day Mr. Arcilla, the romance language teacher at Briarfield, an all-girls boarding school, is found dead at the bottom of Reed Pond. Young and handsome, the object of much fantasy and fascination, he was adored by his students. For Lilith and Romy, Evie and Claire, Nellie and Grace, he was their first love, and their first true loss.

In this extraordinary collection, Kate McQuade explores the ripple effect of one transformative moment on six lives, witnessed at a different point in each girl's future. Throughout these stories, these bright, imaginative, and ambitious girls mature into women, lose touch and call in favors, achieve success and endure betrayal, marry and divorce, have children and struggle with infertility, abandon husbands and remain loyal to the end.


Kate McQuade lives in Andover, Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Black Warrior ReviewHarvard ReviewBaltimore Review, and Verse Daily, among other journals. She has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Ucross Foundation, and Yaddo, and teaches at Phillips Academy, Andover.


Courtney Sender’s fiction appears with Graywolf Press, The Kenyon Review, AGNI, American Short Fiction, Tin House, Slice, The Georgia Review, and others. Her essays and articles appear in The New York Times’ Modern Love, The Atlantic, The Lily at Washington Post, Salon, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and others. Courtney holds an MFA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and a B.A. from Yale University, and has taught creative writing at both schools. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. She is the 2019-2020 George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Event date: 

Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Water Street Bookstore
125 Water Street
EXETER, NH 03833-2456
Tell Me Who We Were: Stories Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062869791
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - July 2nd, 2019